Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The hardcase-an endangered species

Recently, a comrade rewarded himself with an ipaq. I wondered how he treated the unit-no baby care, the machine sled over tables and was dropped a few times. This is not unusual, because hardcases usually do a good job at protecting a PDA. But-his poor handset had no hardcase-it even missed a screen protector. I beleived that my friend did not understand the fragility of his machine and immediately offered him one of my screen protectors. To my astonishment, he refused, saying that his PDA was 100% insured by the store for five years. The fun costed him thirty euros.
This is crazy news. Hardcases were designed to protect the screens of handhelds, which were terribly expensive to repair or exchange. Investing 30$ was reasonable, as a screen worth 200$ was kept out of harm's way-and you also saved the time that the exchange would take. But my comrade misses out on all these problems-when his ipaq breaks, the shop exchanges it for him immediately. In addition, there is a high probability that the store would run out of the model that he currently owns. This opens a cheap upgrade path for him-he ruins the device after two years and offers to pay 100$ for the upgrade. If the store refuses, they(IMHO) break their immediate-exchange contract and have to refund the purchase price. Little to loose for the guy, much to loose for the store!
When confronted with the decision hardcase or insurance, I would definitely go for the latter. My next upgrade will cost me at least 200$-my T3 won't get me much more on ebay anymore-and forget the extra cradle I have for my machine....
Hard times lay in front of hardcase manufacturers-what do you think?


Blogger Ron said...

Well, I found hardcases to be simply too bulky and made my Palm too hard to use. I still use a case, but something lighter and easier to handle (right now, the EB Flipcase for my Tungsten C).

But beware of the "if you break it, we will exchange it" rules.

I've had several friends of mine try this. They found that the salesman says one thing, but the actual agreement says something else. You may not get a free (or cheap) replacement (or anything at all).

Personally, I purchased a similar agreement for a printer. The salesman says "Bring it back anytime, we will exchange it for any reason and if we don't have the same model, you only pay an upgrade fee." So, 2 months before the agreement was up, I took it back. Needless to say, they weaseled out of their verbal agreement pointing to the actual text which didn't match what the salesman had told me.

12:35 AM  
Anonymous Steven Fisher said...

I will never, ever buy a hard case. Padded cases are smaller and do a better job of protecting most of the time.

But yes, relying on replacement insurance bugs me a bit as well. I buy it sometimes, depending on the device, but I certainly don't plan to use it two months before it ends.

But, for what it's worth, this sort of thing has been around for a long time here. If it hasn't killed cases yet, it probably won't.

6:09 PM  
Blogger Tam Hanna said...

Hi you all,
this is indeed interesting. Howevefr, in the EU the laws are very strict-and so they have to keep their promises. My comrade didn't purchase a hard/soft case, and so did his comrades..
Best regards
Tam Hanna

10:57 AM  

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